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WAITING FOR TOMMY: WARREN ELLIS REMIXED
By Richard Johnston

MARC-OLIVER FRISCH: Am I totally misunderstanding you, or are you essentially looking for a way to do superheroes without doing superheroes?
WARREN: I don't know. Maybe. I'm still kind of groping blindly towards this myself, mate.

(I guess Grant tried, in NEWXMEN, but I don't think he swung it, he was coming way too much out of Claremont.)

No, obviously, if you're being hired to do superhero comics, then the characters should at least dress like it a bit. I could do UFF as a lesbian romantic comedy in Park Slope with everyone dressed in Christopher Street thrift-store chic or whatever, but I think I'd be asked to rewrite it.

(Plus I'd have to kill myself.)

It's... looking for what's Next. The gap between arch post-modernism and the turd-hoarding of the reconstructionism.

Superhero fiction is a hybrid genre. It's two or three things stuck together to make one genre (which is why some people find it so hard to define beyond "I know it when I see it"), the twilight zone between sf and crime fiction and a few other things. Every now and then it starts to run out of steam. Because so much is balanced on the genre economically, people are paid to basically find ways to keep it going. So what happens is, every ten years or whatever, something else is stuck onto it. O'Neil and Skeates and a few others successfully stuck politico-cultural relevance on to it. Claremont and Wolfman successfully stuck soap-opera writing on to it. Moore and Miller and Morrison successfully stuck the postmodernist movement on to it. (Though the most successful postmodern-defined author in English is probably Neil Gaiman, funnily enough.) Etcetera. Superhero fiction eats other genres and movements in order to keep going.

It's looking for something to next feed the beast with.

MARLON O: No disrespect to Quitely, but what about Emma's breasts? they were large as her head (maybe bigger) on the cover of Morrison's second or third issue of new x-men. nah...moot point?
WARREN
: Meet Katie Price. Katie Price is a British model who goes by the superhero name Jordan. Katie Price, like Emma Frost, has had serious plastic surgery.

As you can clearly see in this image, her breasts are indeed bigger than her head.

MARKOS SKOULOUDIS: In this light, how do you see the deal between Humanoids and DC? Do you think Humanoids will benefit from the deal?
WARREN: No, I think they're screwed.

 

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ROB HELMERICHS: Could you elaborate?
WARREN: Humanoids' biggest virtues are the excellence of their format and their ability, like Western manga publishers, to cherry-pick from a sizeable chunk of the European comics library. Humanoids' biggest problem is marketing -- telling people that the work is there, explaining the format, and driving home that this is the best of the best. A secondary concern, but one of a section of retailers' main concern, is that Humanoids didn't offer as big a discount as Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Image.

Being handled by DC now means that Humanoids books are on a better discount, which theoretically removes a hurdle towards better sales to retailers. DC appear to be altering the Humanoids format, shrinking it, which also theoretically removes another retailer complaint -- amazingly, that they can't fit Humanoids books on their shelves.

Humanoids books are illustrated to be published in that large size. Shrinking that kind of work really mitigates against a lot of artists in the Humanoids line. I'm waiting to see how that works out, but I do think it could work against them.

Now, Patty Jeres does an excellent PR job for DC. But she has maybe two or three people on her staff at most. And she has to push what is now a pretty large array of imprints at DC. And, you know, there's only so many days in the week. And Humanoids' own PR has been pretty ineffectual so far. If you can't educate people, retailers and readers, to what this stuff is and why it's essential, then you may as well pack up and go home -- or cancel DECEMBER 32nd by Bilal when the American orders don't justify the printing costs, whichever comes first. Patty and her team are bound to take a good shot at it, but it's a massive undertaking and she already has a bunch of other imprints owned entirely by DC to service. DC aren't going to be able to do for Humanoids that which needs to be done to bring it into the light of day, and people like me are going to be looking very hard at anything that diminishes the presentation of the work.

I like Paul and Fabrice at Humanoids, and I want them to do well. But I personally don't think this is going to work out for them.

CAM STARR: Why did Jack Hawksmoor go from being a man that would shed a tear about killing Rose Tattoo to being eager to cause violence and death in The Authority?
WARREN: Because no-one liked the first version. And the second version was funnier.

RICH: Nothing do to with him killing the Spirit of Murder or anything then?
M REYNARD: You won't let that one go, will you, Johnston?
RICH: Shut up. I'm right and I know I am. And Winter came back.

AARON MEHTA: Mr. Ellis, could you sell me on "American Splendor?"
WARREN: Possibly not.

Okay, let's try this: doomed cranky obsessive old bastard struggles to make sense of/get through life while saddled with a dead-end job, an appalling harridan of a wife and bouts of cancer. Guests on Letterman several times and frequently shouts at the audience to shut up. Adopts cute smart kid. Enters new circle of depression hell now he's a father.

It's funny.

MITCH BROWN: I was talking to a mate of mine about this earlier today jokingly. Recently at a Panel in Australia, Brian Michael Bendis was talking about him selling the rights to Powers to Sony (I think) and offered up a pretty amusing anecodote about Sony trying to claim ownership of a certain familiar character by the name of "Warren Ellis", with BMB having to explain repeatedly that they couldn't actually own the rights to "Warren Ellis". I kind of got a flash of Magical Truthsaying Bastard Warren hitting TV screens everywhere.... How does it feel to know that Sony wanted to TM you?
WARREN: Having dealt with some arms of Sony, I can completely believe it...

KADURA: After reading your Desolate Jones Badsignal this morning I was wondering if you could tell us about the artist being co-creator and how that works because you came up with the story before the artist was selected.
WARREN: Jim Williams is going to completely create the visual aspect of the work from my notes, which in many cases are going to be sketchy at best, and this is going to be the only job he does for as long as the book runs. It's both the cost of doing business, and the respectful way to act, to share overall copyright in the work with him.

Without Jim, it's only ever going to be half a job.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 Continued Here...

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